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Slack
07-21-2009, 01:49 PM
I have a spare room in my apartment that is 14'x11.5' that I would like to set up as a studio. It has one window. I live in a basement and it has a drop ceiling. My first question would be, Can I set up a studio in this size room?

My father-n-law was a professional photographer, but recently got out of the business, suggested buying two mono lights (Alien Bees since I'm on a budget) and a ringflash for low-power fill-in lighting. I also know that I will need a back drop. I would like to go with a charcoal black cloth kind of back drop for simplicity sake.

My existing equipment:

Canon 50d w/ Speedlite 550EX
Canon 28-105mm F3.5-4.5
Canon 50mm F1.8 II

I know my equipment is fairly entry level, but will it be sufficient for getting my feet wet? I don't want to waste money on equipment that wouldn't work for my situation. Any help is greatly appreciated.

-Mick

PhatheadWRX
07-21-2009, 01:52 PM
If you want to go budget, why not get that 550EX off the camera and on a light stand?

You could trigger with cheap wireless triggers or even wired with PC cords + pc adapters to mount to your hotshoe.

jacobsen1
07-21-2009, 01:54 PM
you've got more than enough equipment in terms of lenses and a body. You'll want more than one light though, and you'll want it off camera and to be able to modify it. So either buy one more camera flash (420EX or 430EX?) AND something to control them with (pocket wizards, poverty wizards, wires, ST-E2 etc) or get something off camera like the alien bees mentioned. To control them you'll want stands and something like an umbrella to soften the light. Then from there you should get a white background as well as black, but you can get walmart cloth to save money. Also consider Home Depot (or harbor freight) shop lights for your lights. You'll spend <$50 total for 2 lights. The issue is they get very hot (can burn you and make the room warm) but it's the cheapest option to get started.

PhatheadWRX
07-21-2009, 01:57 PM
Just be sure that if you go with hotlights (shop lights) that you have a decent tripod and shutter release, because there is going to be slower shutter speeds than with strobes.

Also, go read www.strobist.com (http://www.strobist.com) 101 for lots of tips/tricks

jacobsen1
07-21-2009, 02:00 PM
Just be sure that if you go with hotlights (shop lights) that you have a decent tripod and shutter release, because there is going to be slower shutter speeds than with strobes.

for reference, with mine (setup relatively close to the subject) I'm getting 1/60th~1/125th @ f/8 and ISO400...

and what are you shooting in said studio BTW, people, products, both, neither?

Slack
07-21-2009, 02:09 PM
I will be shooting people for now. (mostly my wife for practice) I will check out the work lights option as my brother-n-law has his own construction business and I should be able to borrow some. I have an excellent A/C unit, so heat shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Also, what would be the best way to seal off the window?

As far as getting a secondary speedlite flash, I would rather save my money for some mono lights, stands, and umbrellas. How much will I be paying for some decent, entry-level lighting?

PhatheadWRX
07-21-2009, 02:15 PM
Well you're going to need light stands (~$50 ea), umbrellas (~$30) or softboxes ($100+), triggers (wireless from $40 to $500 [pocket wizards])

so thats ~$200 - 800

if you go with flashes, you'll need one more manual flash (from $80-400). with flashes you'll need umbrella swivels ($10)
if you go with alienbees (B800s) they are $280/each

So you could easily spend from ~$300 to 1400 for a 2 light setup depending on what you chose.

Slack
07-21-2009, 02:21 PM
Well, that gives me something to think about. I will do some more research and come back with a list of equipment and see what you think.

PhatheadWRX
07-21-2009, 02:25 PM
While I'd love to have monoblocks for the power and control. I use off camera flash as strobes. 1) because the price is lower (especially when you already have a flash for on camera work) and 2) you can set them up anywhere, monoblocks need AC power or large, heavy, expensive battery packs.

just a thought.

jacobsen1
07-21-2009, 02:34 PM
I have an excellent A/C unit, so heat shouldn't be too much of a problem.


still be careful though, they'll burn you if you touch the glass and they can light paper on fire. I use them all the time as there's no recycle time, but I just want to make sure you're safe. ;)



Also, what would be the best way to seal off the window?


either a light blocking shade from HD (~$25, but there will still be some light) or tinfoil! :lol:


How much will I be paying for some decent, entry-level lighting?

I don't know.

thomps6s
07-21-2009, 02:34 PM
Seal off the window? That will be some of the softest, most even light you will get. Find a way to cover it when you want to, otherwise use it!

thomps6s
07-21-2009, 02:35 PM
Also, use your 550ex off camera and use a reflector. This will get you more than started.

Slack
07-21-2009, 10:03 PM
still be careful though, they'll burn you if you touch the glass and they can light paper on fire. I use them all the time as there's no recycle time, but I just want to make sure you're safe. ;)



either a light blocking shade from HD (~$25, but there will still be some light) or tinfoil! :lol:



I don't know.
I've used the work lights before to do painting/drywall work, so I know how hot they get. Thanks for the warning, though. :D

jacobsen1
07-21-2009, 11:09 PM
yeah, no worries, I just learned the hard way.... :lol:

c00lbeans
07-22-2009, 08:15 PM
In a room that size your going to bounce a lot of light around. I would paint the ceiling black, keep the walls white but have black curtains to make them black. Or you can buy 4x8 foam core with black on one side and white on the other. Tape 2 of them together along the 8 ft edge and make a V flat. The V shape will hold them up and you can flip them to white for fill or black to ad contrast. Dont use umbrellas, get soft boxes. 2 or 3 lights, a v flat, and seamless paper will give you a ton of options for shooting.

Slack
07-22-2009, 09:37 PM
was thinking about the light bouncing around. My walls aren't white, though. They are a beige? Here is a shot that shows the color (under natural light):
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3622/3658570914_6dfda2d6fa_o.jpg

Anyway, I will look into softboxes. I was planning on buying one of the packages from Alien Bees, which comes with umbrellas. Maybe I can keep them for another option.

I don't know about painting the ceiling tiles black because I'm just renting. I might look into buying spare tiles to paint and keeping the white ones for when I move out, which isn't going to be anytime soon.

Thanks for the input. :)

Mick

collegedropout
08-02-2009, 01:23 AM
.... or tinfoil! :lol:


I say pass :lol: b/c you may have teh Sheriff knock in a month or so b/c with shop lights (jackin' the electric bill) and tinfoil on window... it'll look like a knock off version of the 'Weeds' house... ;)


and


ASOLO...best hiking boots my feet have ever felt...(but I be pimpin' the cheapy non-leather version...b/c I go thru a set every 2.5-3 years due to work)


Like this thread...though....gives me some thoughts for the future.... :tux:

Slack
08-03-2009, 01:47 PM
I just dropped the hammer on the AlienBees Digibee package. 2 B400s, 2 10' stands and a couple of umbrellas. I'm going to pick up a big drop cloth from home depot and something to hang it with as well. Hopefully I can get it by the end of the week or early next week and I can start playing around with settings.

thomps6s
08-03-2009, 01:49 PM
I just dropped the hammer on the AlienBees Digibee package. 2 B400s, 2 10' stands and a couple of umbrellas. I'm going to pick up a big drop cloth from home depot and something to hang it with as well. Hopefully I can get it by the end of the week or early next week and I can start playing around with settings.

Pick up some of their "mistakes" at the paint booth and then paint one side of that backdrop. I hear dilluting the paint with thinner or fabric softner works really well.

oh yeah and Congrats on an awesome purchase!

Idjiit
08-03-2009, 01:55 PM
Personally in a space that small I'd just use Speedlights/Softboxes - less clutter with cables, etc.

thechickencow
08-03-2009, 10:13 PM
So Slack decided to go expensive, what's the ghetto fab cheap option for doing something like this? I've got a 2nd bedroom in my apartment and have been thinking about this for a while and this has me curious too.

I've got my 40d, a 430exII (no way of off-camera right now), several lenses, a halogen shop light (the little kind on a short stand, not a big double on a tripod).

here's what I'm thinking:
pick up a 2-light home depot style work light, bounce lights off walls, stuff like that, possibly shine them through white sheets to soften?
pick up some sort of ebay flash triggers (i've been wanting to buy some anyway, just not sure the model that'd be good to look for)
black cloth for background and probably white too
something to reflect light (i was thinking white foamcore, maybe one side shinier with something like aluminum foil?)

Maybe this should be a different thread, but its a similar situation just a different budget.

Slack
08-04-2009, 01:04 PM
I didn't think the setup I bought was too expensive. From looking around it seems to be a bargain and/or entry level.

I got my tracking number for my package yesterday and it should be here by tomorrow. I'm getting excited.

Does anyone have any suggestions for rigging up a backdrop support?

thomps6s
08-04-2009, 01:16 PM
So Slack decided to go expensive, what's the ghetto fab cheap option for doing something like this? I've got a 2nd bedroom in my apartment and have been thinking about this for a while and this has me curious too.

I've got my 40d, a 430exII (no way of off-camera right now), several lenses, a halogen shop light (the little kind on a short stand, not a big double on a tripod).

here's what I'm thinking:
pick up a 2-light home depot style work light, bounce lights off walls, stuff like that, possibly shine them through white sheets to soften?
pick up some sort of ebay flash triggers (i've been wanting to buy some anyway, just not sure the model that'd be good to look for)
black cloth for background and probably white too
something to reflect light (i was thinking white foamcore, maybe one side shinier with something like aluminum foil?)

Maybe this should be a different thread, but its a similar situation just a different budget.

Here you go Jay. http://strobist.blogspot.com/2007/11/david-greene-on-ghetto-fluorescent.html

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brooksayola/sets/72157594238187321/

thechickencow
08-04-2009, 01:44 PM
rad, thanks shawn.

thechickencow
08-04-2009, 10:48 PM
So now that I've had a chance to view, are those flourescents a better option than straight up worklights? Seems like the ability to buy the 'daylight' bulbs may be better for white balance issues and if I use flash as well it may be more even with the flash?

thomps6s
08-04-2009, 10:54 PM
So now that I've had a chance to view, are those flourescents a better option than straight up worklights? Seems like the ability to buy the 'daylight' bulbs may be better for white balance issues and if I use flash as well it may be more even with the flash?

Not sure on the flash, but you could gel the flash? Where is Sam? :)

Use two flourescent's for your main light and use your flash for a kicker/hairlight/backlight?

thechickencow
08-04-2009, 11:01 PM
hairlight?

I still need to get the flash off the camera, i should spring for the latest, greatest ebay crap.

I think I'll buy teh flourescents to start then just starting to shoot and try some stuff out I suppose.

Idjiit
08-04-2009, 11:31 PM
There are some cool fixtures that use fluorescents, but you have to be really careful about the bulbs you use since fluorescents, generally, have a much poorer CRI than say halogen worklights or Xenon flash bulbs. I was always really happy with the colors I got with my worklights, and I think that's largely due to their great CRI. With that said, I now prefer working with speedlights since they're so much easier to work with in terms of portability, flexibility, etc. And yes, you can gel your flash down to tungsten or fluorescents temps if you pick up some color correction gels.

thechickencow
08-05-2009, 10:18 AM
So if I wanted to go with another flash, I'm understanding I don't need to go with canon but what are good, cheap options? I'm thinking a 430 is overkill if I'm going to just use it off camera for this type of work.

thomps6s
08-05-2009, 10:24 AM
So if I wanted to go with another flash, I'm understanding I don't need to go with canon but what are good, cheap options? I'm thinking a 430 is overkill if I'm going to just use it off camera for this type of work.

jay, if this is available, buy it http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/pho/1255880550.html

jacobsen1
08-05-2009, 10:26 AM
what's CRI? And yeah, speedlights are certainly easier, but if you have the shoplights, it's a great way to start w/o much money at first. :)

Slack
08-05-2009, 11:25 AM
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3595/3792422960_c9cec6695a_o.jpg

Okay. Here's a rough, not to scale sketch of the room I'm turning into a studio. I just wanted to get some input from the pros about how to set things up.

My AB order is going to be delivered sometime this afternoon, so I'm trying to get things in order so I can start experimenting with my lighting right away.

I went to Home Depot this morning and bought a tan 14'9" x 11'9" canvas drop cloth, a brass ring punch kit, and some simple string.

Since I have a drop ceiling, I figured I could loop the string over the framing and hang the drop cloth by the brass rings. I bought the bigger sized cloth so that I can either cover WALL B and have it hang down and come away from the wall ~5' or I can cover WALL C and have it come away from the wall ~8'. Alternately, I could put it in the corner and have it cover portions of both WALL B and WALL C and have it hang down either 5' or 8'.

What do you think? I've got the drop cloth in the dryer right now so I can hopefully get the wrinkles out before I hang it up.

thomps6s
08-05-2009, 11:27 AM
What do you think?

I think you are on your way. Exciting stuff

Slack
08-05-2009, 11:57 AM
What I meant to ask:

Where do you think I should hang my drop cloth?

thomps6s
08-05-2009, 12:05 PM
I would hang it on the 11 foot wide end. More room to work front to back this way. i.E. you can set your subject farther away from the backdrop.

c00lbeans
08-05-2009, 05:04 PM
What do you think? I've got the drop cloth in the dryer right now so I can hopefully get the wrinkles out before I hang it up.

I think your going to have troubles with it unless your going for curtain looking background. I would buy a background stand and 9ft roll($45~) of thunder grey seamless paper if you want perfectly smooth background. Or just buy seamless paper and tape or tack it up. You can still use the drop cloth over the paper for a curtain look.

you can also stick one light in the closet. and hang a white silky shower curtain over the closet opening and make it a big soft box. Experiment with bouncing the light off the back wall of the closet or shooting straight through the curtain

Slack
08-06-2009, 06:57 AM
I just got the drop cloth for a baseline back drop. I will be adding to my collection as I can. Right now I am broke, so it might be a little while. I am going to keep playing with the positioning of the lights till I get the look I'm going for. Thanks for the tips.